How Much Firing Don Felder Cost The Eagles

Don Felder was the lead guitarist of the Eagles between 1974 and 2001. Before Felder joined the band, the Eagles invited him to add slide guitar to ‘Good Day In Hell’ and guitar solos to ‘Already Gone.’ He joined the Eagles in 1974 and started playing with them, co-writing songs, and arranging guitar solos.

After Bernie Leadon left in 1975, Joe Walsh joined the Eagles. Felder knew Walsh and jammed with him before Leadon’s departure, so they were accustomed to playing together. In the end, Walsh and Felder ended up being one of rock music’s most memorable onstage partnerships. With this new line-up, the Eagles released their major hit ‘Hotel California.’

After the ‘Long Night At Wrong Beach’ incident and their split, the Eagles reunited in 1994. Felder continued as a band member until 2001, when he departed from the Eagles. As it turns out, going on separate ways with Felder cost the Eagles a significant amount of money.

What Was The Real Issue Between Don Felder And The Eagles?

After the release of ‘Hotel California’ and the accompanying tour, the Eagles fell into the pit of substance abuse, and tensions began growing within the band. During the recordings of ‘The Long Run,’ Felder and Glenn Frey started to have issues due to Felder’s partnership with Walsh and the band’s division into factions.

On July 31, 1980, during a show in Long Beach, California, things began to escalate within the Eagles. The animosity between Felder and Frey was already at its height before the show, and they threatened each other on stage. After the gig, Felder smashed his guitar, and the Eagles disbanded.

Following the Eagles’ split, Don Felder continued his music career as a solo artist. In 1985, Henley offered him $5,000 a week to hit the road together, but Felder refused out of his payment dissatisfaction and unwillingness to embark on a tour. In 1994, after 14 years, the Eagles reunited for a concert aired on MTV.

After the show, the band released their 1994 album ‘Hell Freezes Over,’ Felder continued as a member until he got fired in 2001. As a result, the guitarist filed two lawsuits, alleging wrongful termination, breach of implied-in-fact contract, and breach of fiduciary duty, seeking $50 million in damages.

How Much Money Did The Eagles Lose After Firing Don Felder?

According to Don Felder, Henley and Frey wanted a higher percentage of the band’s profits after the 1994 Hell Freezes Over tour. Before that, they split the money they made into five equal portions. Moreover, Felder argued in his lawsuit that Henley and Frey’s greed became more insatiable with each new musical project.

In the lawsuit, Felder also accused his former bandmates of forming a separate company to handle a career-retrospective box set titled ‘Selected Works: 1972-1999’ and excluding him, Walsh, and Schmit from an ownership stake. According to Felder, the duo was abusing their authority and acting unfairly by threatening to fire him.

The musician also argued the pair coerced him into signing an agreement that enabled them to receive three times more of the ‘Selected Works: 1972-1999’ profits than him. The ‘Selected Works: 1972-1999’ box set was released in November 2000 and has sold around 267,000 copies, earning over $16 million.

Felder believed he couldn’t be left out as he was a full partner. However, Henley and Frey’s representative Daniel Petrocelli revealed that his clients had full rights to dismiss the guitarist. Moreover, Petrocelli argued that this action was in the band’s best interest, and they felt Felder shouldn’t be part of it.

As reported by Yahoo, Daniel Petrocelli said the following:

“We took this action because it was in the best interest of the Eagles. The band is going forward. This was done in the best interest of the band.”

According to LA Times, Petrocelli also stated:

“They felt, creatively, chemistry-wise and performance-wise, that he should no longer be part of the band. They removed him, and they had every legal right to do so. This has been happening with rock ‘n’ roll bands since day one.”

Ultimately, Felder sued them, seeking $50 million in damages. However, Henley and Frey countersued him for breach of contract, claiming the guitarist wrote and attempted to sell the rights to a tell-all book, ‘Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles.’ The book’s release was canceled until it came out in 2007 in the UK and 2008 in the US.

On January 23, 2002, the Los Angeles County Court consolidated the two complaints. On May 8, 2007, the suits were settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. Currently, Don Felder has a $60 million net worth, so it’s possible both sides agreed on a pleasant amount.